Over 1,000 watering cans in every imaginable style are on display in a free museum atop a German mall.
The “Giesskannenmuseum” (Watering Can Museum) in Giessen celebrates the common watering can—be it antiquarian, modern, valuable or cheap.
The museum opened in 2011, funded by the City of Giessen and run by the Gaertnerpflichten artist group (Oliver Behnecke, Ingke Guenther, Esther Steinbrecher and Joerg Wagner). The location of the museum is no coincidence: the name Giessen means “to water”.
There are more cans being added each week. Most are donated, but some are purchased especially for exhibition. Every can is cataloged, stories or memories from the former owners are collected and every donation is registered. The large collection emphasizes the great variety in watering cans. Though they all have a container, a spout, a shower piece and a handle, the cans vary in design, material and quality. Pressed metal, plastic or ceramic, chic design object or banal garden supply, for indoor or outdoor use, the watering can is a utilitarian object but also a beautiful one.
The museum has also acquired some beautiful prints from the late 19th century, where watering cans can be seen in different contexts. A collection of 26 sheets can be seen in a specially equipped display cabinet. On wood and copper, in engravings, lithographs and illustrations, the watering can is sometimes shown as protagonist and sometimes as a mere accessory.
Since spring of 2012, the Giesskannenmuseum has cooperated with the Frankfurt art project “Botanoadopt”, by Haike Rausch and Torsten Grosch. Here “neglected and abused houseplants” receive individual names and biographies and are presented in the Watering Can Museum for adoption, but only into good hands.
Update May, 2018: The museum has moved and is now located at Sonnenstraße, near the Botanical Garden. It’s visible from the street and can be found easily now.
Know Before You Go
Entrance is still free and opening times have expanded to now cover Wednesdays 10-13.00, Fridays 15-18.00 and Saturdays 12-16.00 (Spring 2018).